Friday 20 September 2019

Teachers shared pension lump sums of €136m last year as 11 got more than €150,000

The lump-sum payments to teachers last year totalled €136.85m, which is a 72pc increase on 2013
The lump-sum payments to teachers last year totalled €136.85m, which is a 72pc increase on 2013

Gordon Deegan

Eleven secondary school teachers last year received pension lump sums of between €150,000 and €165,000 on retiring, new figures show.

Figures provided by the Department of Education, in response to a Freedom of Information request, show that one retiring school teacher received a lump sum of €165,862.

The teacher was one of four retirees to receive lump sums over €160,000.

The tax-free lump sums received were the top amounts paid out to retiring teachers in the primary and post-primary sector last year. The highest amount received by a primary school teacher was €144,963.

The lump-sum payments to teachers last year totalled €136.85m, which is a 72pc increase on 2013.

The figures for 2014 show that €76.34m was paid out to retiring primary school teachers and €60.5m to retiring secondary level teachers.

However, the 2013 lump-sum payments were low compared with other years following the exodus of primary and secondary school teachers from the public service in 2012, when the lump sums paid out totalled €172.36m.

Retiring school teachers and principals are entitled to one-and-a-half times their salary in a tax-free lump sum.

The figures show that 253 retiring secondary school teachers received lump sums of between €100,000 and €150,000 last year, with an additional 318 receiving lump sums of between €50,000 and €100,000.

The chief executive of ISME, Mark Fielding, said: "The Celtic Tiger might be dead but the golden circle continues.

"The size of lump sums paid to retiring teachers and other public servants continues to make your eyes water.

"The self-employed and employees in the private sector can but dream of such largesse, all paid from the public purse."

However, a spokesman for the INTO said: "Larger pension payments in 2014 were due to larger numbers retiring last year. There has been no change to pension calculations."

He said that those retiring had paid pension contributions all their working lives and pointed out that the larger lump-sum gratuities "were very much outlying figures".

Figures for the primary sector show that 371 teachers received lump sums between €100,000 and €150,000, with 368 receiving payments between €50,000 and €100,000.

The figures show that the top 20 retiring secondary school teachers shared pension payments of €3m, with the top 20 primary school teachers receiving an aggregate €2.72m in pension payments.

Irish Independent

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